Day one of the 2019 Automobility LA show might be best summed up in one word “Karma.” The first media day is basically a series of thirty minutes (or more) technology update panels. I find it interesting on a number of levels, including what really is new and what is status of the field.
For the most part, especially if you have attended a number of these over the years, you take what is said with a grain of salt and consider it a lot of marketing hype designed to stimulate discussion, create awareness, and in more cases than not, investor interest.
My ‘take-aways’ from today include:
- The new CEO of Faraday (he was the CEO of Byton last year) sees the real financial profitability coming from the interconnected digital experience, rather than through the sales of their FF91 (September 2021) at $150-200k, or of their FF81 after that at $60-80k.
- The “living space” experience of future semi-autonomous and ultimately, fully autonomous (levels 4 and 5) vehicles is the ‘hot’ topic focus of many presenters here.
- Critical is figuring out how to integrate all of the vehicle voice assistants, such as OEM versions and Alexa, along with the artificial intelligence (AI) dynamic data base so that it is a seamless experience for the end user.
- Figuring out how to gain the trust in the general public of autonomous vehicles (AVs)
One split in thinking and focus that I feel isn’t being given enough effort is that there really are two very different AV ‘roads’ that need to be integrated for this future disruption to succeed. That is, one faction sees AVs as ultimately the replacement for the personal car as simple a means to primarily get from A to B, while the other is attempting to create a whole new means of experience that people will just want to do because of the experience. The later are focused on integrating lots of monitors (screens), high end audio, augmented reality, etc. An overriding issue for both factions is what the respective impact will be on reducing congestion in urban environments.
Continuing issues include lack of standardized intra and inter vehicle communication (software), privacy of the ever-expanding data base on each end user (incrementally increasing under the 5G capabilities), and lack of interstate DMV regulation for AVs.
It still appears that the near future of AVs will be restricted to proprietary lanes on highways and in urban environments, where human driven vehicles are not allowed to drive. Under this set-up, I believe we will see a significant reduction in accidents and deaths.
Oh, and why this first day is best summed up as Karma? The simple answer is that Karma had their FF91 there, as well as functioning protypes of their future vision cars the SC1 and SC2 (convertible and hardtop respectively, each with ‘scissor’ doors), and their Revero GTS model. Alternatively, as a bit of tongue-in-cheek, perhaps the future of AVs is just karma personified…
More to come. In the interim, what are your thoughts?